11 September 2010

Serrano Ham and Bean Fritters

Serrano ham and broad bean tapas can be found in almost every Andalucian bar, if not most rural bars throughout Spain. It is not uncommon to walk into a bar and see dozen upon dozen of broad bean shells scattered over the floor near the bar. This is the way broad beans are eaten in rural villages where occasionaly the bar owner will whip around with a brush and pile up the bean shells into a heap in the corner to deal with later.

First impressions for some may be that the bar is a scruffy affair but from a practical point of view (from the bar owner) the floor is actually the best place for the discarded shells afterall imagine 20 hungry punters eagerly shelling beans and leaving them on the top of the bar, simply no good as where then would you find room for your glass of fino and plate of serrano ham?

Which brings us to the next point, broad beans and ham. A good bar can go through several serrano hams per day and all these need to be carved, straight from the leg with a handful of fresh beans ~ absolutley delicious. This is however a rustic affair that you won't find in restaurants, there is though that sense of "real Spain" seeing the old boys shell broad beans with a skill us other Europeans seem to lack, washed down with a glass of fino and a few slices of local "jamon"

For the weekend, tapas in our local village are usually hot - cooked up "out the back" where every twenty minutes or so a huge plate of incredible looking food emerges to be divide up between the customers. One such recipe is fritters, not the usual ham croquettes or deep fried bacalao in breadcrumbs but that famous pairing of serrano ham and broad beans, this recipe also lends itself to a little spice - watch out, its got a kick.


250g Fresh broad beans
150g Serrano ham, diced
1/4 Teaspoon hot smoked paprika (picante)
1 Small hot red chilli pepper (diced)
1 Tablespoon plain flour
1/2 a lemon
Black pepper (freshly ground peppercorns)

How to make:

1. Shell the broad beans and place into a food processor.

2. Add the diced ham along with the hot smoked paprika and chilli pepper; squeeze the juice of half the lemon into the mix.

3. Blend for a few seconds until the ingredients become the mixture of breadcrumbs.

4. Remove the mixture to a bowl or cazuela, season with salt and pepper and add the flour and mix well.

5. Meanwhile, heat a good 3cm of olive oil in a frying pan.

6. Using two tablespoons shape your fritters by rolling between the two and add to the oil, fry until deep golden brown on the outside turning occasionaly.

7. Serve with a cool yogurt and mint dip or mojo sauce.


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